RTE Concert Orchestra and the Ulster Orchestra are going to be performing together as part of the BBC’s Music Nation events for the first time.
Musicians from both the South and the North of the border are going to be being conducted by Jurjen Hempel, the Dutch conductor. The concert is going to take place on Sunday at the Belfast Waterfront.
The BBC’s event is part of a nationwide programme of musical concerts, performances and workshops that are taking place on 3 March. This is the start of a larger series of events that are coming down to London as part of the cultural element of the Olympic Games.
The trumpet player in the Ulster Orchestra is Patrick McCarthy and he has commented, “This is really a statement of how normal Ireland has been since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. This event is going to focus firmly on music and isn’t going to have any symbolism. My first visit to Belfast was back in 1996 and I came to see the Belfast Waterfront as it was being built. On Royal Avenue you could see Army vehicles keeping the peace and everything felt very uneasy.”
Today, Belfast is a rejuvenated city and it has an exceptional amount of culture which has thrived since the ending of the political difficulties. Musicians are usually not very sentimental about these events concerts that take place but many are excited about the significance of the events happening the Sunday.
These two orchestras performing on the same stage is an unusual sight, but many musicians from the two orchestras have worked together in the past. The orchestra is going to be made up of over 100 players and this can cause logistical problems. All of these details have been successfully sorted out in advance of the concert.